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Sports Authority

Karnes: Predicting the summer in sports

| Friday, April 25, 2014

With the last days of the school year petering out, it’s as good of a time as any to reflect on the great year of sports we’ve had so far. Since school began in August, we’ve seen everything, from the miraculous moments like Auburn cornerback Chris Davis’s game-winning, missed-field-goal return against Alabama to more depressing happenings like another knee injury for former NBA MVP Derrick Rose.

But as fun as reminiscing can be, the best thing about sports is that these great, unexpected moments happen every single year. This summer will be no different. With the NBA and Stanley Cup playoffs looming, the MLB season raging and so much more happening this summer, the sports world will be a very different place when school resumes next fall. So, instead of celebrate the past, I’d rather present a few predictions for the twists and turns of the summer.

Johnny Manziel will be picked eighth by the Minnesota Vikings in the NFL Draft

The controversial quarterback, projected by some to drop on draft day because of his attitude and height, will immediately be proclaimed the solution to the Vikings’ revolving door at the position. Minnesota fans will gush about his amazing college highlights, and declare that, like Drew Brees and Russell Wilson before him, Manziel will take revenge on teams that passed him because of his small stature. This talk, however, will dwindle in August after reports out of training camp reveal Johnny Football is clashing with new head coach Mike Zimmer and being outperformed by Matt Cassel, returning Vikings’ fans to their usual sullen silence.

The Miami Heat will defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder in seven games in the NBA Finals

After Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant wins the NBA MVP and averages over 38 points against the Spurs in the Western Conference finals, many predict that he will use the Finals to claim the title of world’s best basketball player from its current holder, the Heat’s LeBron James. Much to the chagrin of James haters, however, it will be James who stamps his mark on the series by reaching for an extra gear to harass Durant into mere 43-percent shooting, shoot nearly 60 percent himself on offense and even notch a triple-double in the series-deciding game 7. Even better for Heat “fans,” James will announce he will be returning to Miami to pursue more championships.

Carmelo Anthony will sign with the Chicago Bulls

Another superstar will not be as loyal, as Anthony will ignore the New York Knicks’ hiring of Phil Jackson as president and enter free agency. Citing his desire to play for a winner and his respect for head coach Tom Thibodeau, the small forward will take his versatile scoring skills to the Windy City. Already boasting one of the league’s top defenses, the Bulls will immediately jump to the top of the list of projected contenders behind their new “Big Three” of Anthony, Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah. Still, worried whispers will persist among doubters about Anthony’s motor and Rose’s health.

The United States will not make it out of Group Play in the World Cup

Group G will live up to its “Group of Death” nickname, and the U.S. national team shall be sent home from Brazil early. American fans will mourn briefly and then return to not caring about soccer for the rest of the summer.

Yasiel Puig will win the Home Run Derby

While the Cuban star has attracted his share of disapproval for his off-field behavior, hot-headedness and perceived antics, Puig’s performance on the field will prove all that irrelevant. Behind his formidable bat, the Dodgers will race to first place in the NL West, and Puig will make his first All-Star Game. There he will become the second-straight Cuban player to win the Derby, after Yoenis Cespedes last year. Reports that he was also the first contestant to attempt to fight his pitcher in the locker room will remain unconfirmed.

While all these predictions are possible, chances that summer unfolds in such a way are slim to none. And that’s the way it should be, because much of the fun of sports comes from their unpredictability. So buckle up as the weather warms, because no matter what you dream up for this summer, the sports gods have something better in store for you.

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